Green Diamonds - Synthetic Green Zircons
Sai Baba 'diamond' Ring Proven A Fake? Another Robert Priddy Lie:
I had often wondered why a few people called the green stones on the rings that Sathya Sai Baba gave to them “green diamonds”. All of the people I had met who received such rings never claimed that Sathya Sai Baba referred to the green stones as “green diamonds”. The few people who referred to the green stones as “green diamonds” made those assumptions themselves.
Since the green stones sparkle and are brilliant like diamonds (and I am sure people wished they were green diamonds), it is obvious that a few ill-informed people started rumors saying that the green stones were “green diamonds”. This also applies to “clear diamonds” that are often either cubic zirconia’s or white sapphires. I have met a couple of people who did possess genuine diamond rings gifted to them by Sathya Sai Baba and were allegedly authenticated by jewelers. However, real diamond rings gifted by Sai Baba are rare. Most of Baba’s rings contain semi-precious stones or synthetic zircons (which are extremely durable, beautiful and inspirational stones).
I knew ever since the first time I saw the “green diamonds” (when I was 18 years old) that they were actually synthetic, green zircons. I collect crystals and minerals and have seen numerous synthetic zircons, spanning the full color spectrum. The image on the side of this page shows a variety of synthetic zircons in a rainbow of colors. Such synthetic stones are seen everywhere; from class rings, jewelry stores, rock shops, the internet, television, ebay, malls, Indian bazaars and even outside Sai Baba’s ashram. So why a few people believed that the green stones were “green diamonds” when their prevalence is widespread, well known and well established, is enigmatic. A true, natural, green diamond is very rare and would cost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 5 carat stone (as in the case of the Dresden Green Diamond).
I never knew that it was important for devotees to receive real diamond rings from Sathya Sai Baba. Most Sai Devotees have said they care less about the gifts Baba gave them and care more for its sentimental and spiritual value. However, this was not the case with Robert Priddy (who not only wanted a real green diamond, he was obsessed with its value). For example, Robert Priddy was very upset that his “green diamond” was not a real one and he hired (with much fanfare) an entire video crew and jeweler to confirm his gullibility and naivete that his stone was actually a synthetic zircon, not a green diamond as he speculated it was! Robert Priddy said:
Robert Priddy: “On 31/10/2002, my wife Reidun and I returned from three days in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the 'green diamond' SB gave me in 1986 (shown above) was examined by Mr. Peter Hertz, the Danish Queen Margarethe's jeweler, a top Scandinavian expert on precious stones and diamonds. All was filmed in detail by ōjvind KyrÝ's team for Danish TV. The result of the investigation, which took two days, is that the stone is a synthetic green sapphire.Value only about $40 today in super-expensive Denmark. Its value in India today could therefore probably be around $10.
I gave permission for opening the ring, (the stone is encased at the back so the stone's underside cannot be seen, as are all so-called Sai Baba diamond rings that I have seen). It turned out to have a layer of green silver foil behind the stone to enhance the green colour and reflect light. Behind the silver foil, the golden casing was painted black. The metal is 18 carat gold. (The stone was formerly estimated by its surface size to be the equivalent of ca. 5 to 6 carats, the stone being 1.2 cm in diameter). Mr. Hertz estimated the total value of the ring as perhaps up to $200 in Denmark today...Mr. Hertz assured us that he was able to determine without any doubt that the stone was not natural but artificial or 'synthetic' - that is to say, manufactured by human beings.”
Why should this surprise Robert Priddy? I knew this fact and I am not even a jeweler. Was Robert Priddy so sequestered that he never saw a synthetic zirconium in his life before? It is also interesting to point out that Robert Priddy provided close-up pictures of his “green diamond ring” along with Mr. Hertz on his website (although Robert Priddy purposely tried to skew the image). The ring is in exceptionally brilliant condition and the stone is not visibly scratched or worn at all. This is unusual for a ring that happens to be 16 years old and whose stone is not worth more than $40 (in “super expensive Denmark”). Robert Priddy commented further:
Robert Priddy: “I had occasionally wondered about the authenticity of these stones, such as when I saw the ca. 1 carat green stone in a ring worn by Mrs. Maynard Ferguson. She told my wife and I that the ring was "very worn down" due to her having worn it all the time, doing housework and washing up. The green stone certainly looked dull and much the worse for wear. The same applied to the same sized clear 'diamond' ring worn by Mr. Ron Laing, when we visited him and his wife, Peggy Mason, in Tunbridge Wells in 1987. Ron Laing said he had been told that it was a diamond. Diamonds simply cannot be scratched, except by another diamond. I held it and examined closely, for it was so worn that it looked more like a piece of heavily scoured glass.
During a visit to his Bayswater flat in London in 1987, Mr. Lucas Ralli told me that SB had once "materialised" a ring for him with a clear (white) diamond. As soon as he had lowered himself with the aid of his bunched fists to sit cross-legged on the veranda outside the interview room, the unaccustomed ring came in contact with the floor, which is of marble, and the 'diamond' split into two pieces. (Diamonds can only be split by a sharp blow, but not by the sort of pressure involved in that instance).”
There are some common sense observations that can be made about Priddy’s points of contention. First of all, whenever any ring with a gemstone inset is exposed to any kind of cleaning solution using soap, it will coat the stone with a film (known as soap scum) and will make the stone appear dull and glass-like. Substances like chlorine (used in bleach) will cause the mounting to be discolored. These are common facts that are often discussed by jewelers, in caring for precious and semi-precious stones.
Since Mrs. Maynard Ferguson admitted to wearing the ring “all the time, doing housework and washing up”, it is very easy to explain why the stone looked dull and worn (she wore the ring while “washing up” and allowed soap sediments to build up on the ring). Unlike Robert Priddy, Mrs. Maynard Ferguson wasn't obsessed about the price of her ring or the stone it contained.
Regarding Ron Laing’s diamond ring having scratches on it, Robert Priddy said, “diamonds simply cannot be scratched, except by another diamond. I held it and examined closely, for it was so worn that it looked more like a piece of heavily scoured glass”. It is also a well known fact that diamonds are easily scratched, because most diamonds are kept in jewelry boxes. Whenever the jewelry is jumbled or sifted in the jewelry box, the diamonds can rub against each other and cause scratches. Just because a stone is heavily scratched, does not mean it is not a diamond. As a matter of fact, scratched diamonds are such a problem that jewelers often make a point of keeping diamond jewelry separate from each other or wrapping them individually in tissue to prevent scratches.
Furthermore, zircons have a hardness of 8.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness. Glass and a typical knife blade have a hardness of 5.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness. Consequently, glass and metal will not scratch a synthetic zircon. Chances are, if a zircon is scratched it was put in a jewelry box with other hard stones and the jumbling of the stones caused them to scratch one other. If Mrs. Maynard Ferguson’s green stone was the same type of green stone that Robert Priddy had, then she had a green cubic zirconium. Zirconia’s are very hard stones (8.3 out of a possible 10) and they are not capable of being “worn down”. This also applies to Ron Laing’s ring. If it was a zircon, the only things that could have scratched it are diamonds, corundums and other zircons.
Robert Priddy talked about how Mr. Lucas Ralli’s “diamond” split into two pieces when he put his full weight on the ring against a hard marble slab. Robert Priddy said that diamonds can “only be split by a sharp blow”. That simply is not true. Diamonds are brittle. Diamonds can easily chip and fracture, especially when the stone already has fractures inside of it (many of which are microscopic). Although diamonds are exceedingly hard, they are not tough. There is a difference between “hardness” and “toughness”. There are many gems (such as jade, nephrite and chrysoberyl) that are actually “tougher” than diamonds. It is important to remember that diamonds can crack, chip, fracture, shatter, discolor and lose value!
It is also revealing that Mr. Lucas Ralli’s stone split into two pieces. Diamonds have very simple and pronounced cleavage. “Cleavage” deals with the planes of molecules along which a stone can split apart with relative ease. If the right pressure is applied on a facet to a diamond, it will split into two pieces or shatter. Synthetic zircons do not do this. Zircon’s will chip and break irregularly because zircons do not have cleavage! Diamonds do. Glass, clear quartz and white sapphires also do not have cleavage. So chances are, the stone that was in Mr. Lucas Ralli’s ring was a diamond and was not a zircon, clear quartz, white sapphire or glass (which do not have cleavage) because the stone split “in two pieces” along a plane of cleavage.
Robert Priddy Blatantly Lied About Sathya Sai Baba:
Robert Priddy said:
“Sathya Sai Baba had every opportunity subsequently to refute that this was a genuine green diamond he had given to me, for he accepted my book 'Source of the Dream' in 1994 and signed it on the inside cover. In that book the 'green diamond' is photographed very clearly and what SSB said when he gave it to me is stated verbatim.”
What is amusing about Robert Priddy’s comment is that nowhere in his book, Source Of The Dream, did Sathya Sai Baba ever call the stone a “green diamond”. As a matter of fact, this particular story was discussed in the chapter “Be Ready! Be Ready!” (pages 130 - 133 in Source Of The Dream) and Sai Baba never called the stone a “green diamond”. Even Robert Priddy himself did not call the stone a “green diamond”. Robert Priddy repeatedly referred to the stone as a “green stone”. The only times when Robert Priddy called the stone a “green diamond” was on a picture page where he described the stone as such and on page 141 in the chapter Marching Happy. In this same chapter (on pages 140 + 141) Robert Priddy talked about the ring that Sai Baba materialized for him and continually referred to the stone as a “green stone”. Priddy then speculated what he thought the stone might be.
Robert Priddy said that since Sathya Sai Baba claimed he is omniscient, he should have known about the reference to the stone as a “green diamond” in his book. This comment confirms that Sai Baba never called the stone a “green diamond”. Robert Priddy also wrote a chapter entitled “The Unfathomable Nature of the Avatar” (pages 259 - 261) in which he told the reader why Sai Baba made oversights despite his alleged omniscience. Consequently, Robert Priddy gave an entirely valid reason why Sai Baba would not have known about “green diamond” comment. Robert Priddy said:
“This unevenness was evidently due to the manner in which the green silver foil was inserted incompletely behind the stone so a painted black background caused some shading, allowing a kind of shadowy, rough silhouette of a head and shoulders to appear from certain angles when shading it from above. This is no 'mysterious appearance' of Sai Baba, as many devotees even believe, but a result of the manner of cutting and mounting the stone.”
However, in the chapter entitled “Marching Happy” (page 140), Robert Priddy said:
“As with other such rings, silhouettes of Sai Baba can be seen in it, sometimes with great clarity, his attitude varying much and very subtly with the lighting conditions. Shading it with a hand even often gives the appearance of the orange robe below the black hair, all set in a translucent green light! At times various types of crosses appear in it and also lotuses and Shivalingams.”
Consequently, despite Robert Priddy claiming to explain away Sai Baba’s “rough silhouette” by the use of foil behind the stone, he miserably failed to tell us how the foil could create clear images of Sai Baba’s orange robe, lotuses and Shivalingams. As a matter of fact, Robert Priddy said that sometimes the silhouettes could be seen with “great clarity”. Obviously, Robert Priddy can’t make up his mind about what he saw. Either Robert Priddy was lying when he wrote his book or he is lying now. Either scenario does not bode well for Robert Priddy.
Amusingly enough, in the chapter “Marching Happy” (page 140 - 141), Robert Priddy stated why he believed Sathya Sai Baba materialized “green diamonds” instead of other types of precious stones. The following quote reveals how gullible Robert Priddy was and his desperation in blindly believing that his stone was a “green diamond” although Sathya Sai Baba never called it as such. Robert Priddy said:
“Later I came to realize a number of things about the importance of the green color. One fairly mundane point alone is the difficulty that people - including customs officers, theives, and muggers - would surely have in realizing that tthe stone is an extremely rare diamond of the highest degree of clarity, just short of perfection. Despite its size and brillance, few persons apart from Sai followers have asked me about it during the past seven years.”
The reason why so few asked Robert Priddy about the ring was perhaps due to the fact that they knew it was a synthetic zircon. On page 141, Robert Priddy said:
“Some people have called these stones emeralds, but emeralds are in fact never so translucently clear and bright, I have discovered. It may be of interest to know what others to whom Baba has given the same kind of bright emerald-green stone, and who have investigated the matter quite thoroughly, have thought about this stone. Through the years in the Sai movement I have seen perhaps twenty people with green diamonds given by Baba. Some have shown them to jewelers, but I have not heard that the jewelers have been able to say what the stone is. The stones are all of a similar shade of green, with a brilliance unknown in green gemstones anywhere in the world of commerce. One resident of Prashanti Nillayam, who has a ring with a very similar stone of a slightly different green hue, was told by one of India’s most well-known chemical industrial figures that it can only be a diamond, and I have established that its hue is very close to that of the Dresden Green diamond. These green stones that Baba makes are also held to be diamonds by an Australian who is recognized as a major world expert in opals. The stone is about 5 carats or approximately 1cm by 1.2cms and would be a huge value on the market, if anyone were willing to sell one or even risk trying.”
One will notice that Robert Priddy never said that Sathya Sai Baba called the stone a “green diamond”. As a matter of fact, if Sai Baba had called the stone a “green diamond” then Robert Priddy would not have spent so much time speculating as to what he thought the stone might be. Instead, Robert Priddy made a strong case that he speculated that the “green stone” (his words) was a “green diamond” based on second hand information that he blindly believed. This was Robert Priddy’s assumption. Not a statement of fact from Sathya Sai Baba. Of course, don't expect Robert Priddy to divulge these facts on his Anti-Sai websites. Robert Priddy also said that in order to believe these stories of the stones being green diamonds, one’s “credulity would have to be that of a 3-year old.” I think this observation sums up Robert Priddy’s credulity as well.